TN Governor did not violate Constitution: Raj Bhavan

Parties had also attributed political meaning to the meeting alleging that the Governor was acting at the orders of those at the helm at the Centre.

Chennai: Asserting that Banwarilal Purohit's review meeting with officials of Coimbatore district administration did not amount to any “illegality or unconstitutionality”, the Raj Bhavan on Monday termed “absolutely wrong” the suggestions that the Tamil Nadu Governor’s action had a political agenda and that he was acting at the behest of the Union Government.

The Governor's review meeting with Coimbatore district collector and other officials regarding implementation of various projects last Tuesday stoked a major controversy with principal Opposition party the DMK and other political outfits calling it an “assault on state autonomy” and asked the ceremonial head of the state to desist from such meetings. The parties had also attributed political meaning to the meeting alleging that the Governor was acting at the orders of those at the helm at the Centre.

Though the Governor had brushed aside the protests from Opposition parties the very next day and even declared that he would visit every district in the state to review projects, his office issued a detailed statement Monday evening explaining various provisions in the Constitution that allows him to conduct review meetings and interact with officials of the state government and asserted that he would continue with his meetings.

The two-page statement issued by the Governor's office noted that “certain sections of society” in the state found the effort as something that is to be welcomed, while other found his action that was in contradiction with Constitutional provisions and established conventions.

“Most unfortunately, a few of the critics also felt that the Governor had a political agenda and that he was acting at the behest of the Central Government, given the current political context in which the state of Tamil Nadu finds itself. This part of the criticism is absolutely wrong and false and based on the figment of imagination,” Ramesh Chand Meena, principal secretary to the Governor, said in a statement.

The statement also pointed out comments by several ministers in the Tamil Nadu Government welcoming his meeting and asserted, “At no place does the Constitution stop the Governor from seeking any such meeting.”

“The purpose in seeking such meetings is not to subvert the authority of the state government, but to support their efforts in good governance. In our Constitution, there is no bar on the Governor's action in seeking an appropriate connect with the people of the state to be in their service and enhance their well-being,” Meena said, stoutly defending Purohit's actions.

As the row over Governor's meeting refused to die down, Meena said though Purohit was “sure about the legality and correctness of his action”, he did take legal opinion from a leading legal expert after the meeting who affirmed that his interaction with officials did not amount to any illegality or unconstitutionality.

“Everything was done according to the norms and the meeting gave the governor a good idea of the status of various welfare and developmental schemes and programmes in the district of Coimbatore,” Meena said in the statement. The meetings help the Governor get “first-hand knowledge” of the developmental needs of the state and allow him to seek “more funds” from the Union Government to fulfill the aspirations of the people.

Noting that Purohit had held meetings with district officials in Assam when he was the governor of the North-Eastern state, Meena said recalled the Governor's first statement to the media after his swearing-in on October 6 that all his actions would be guided by the Constitution. He also said the Governor would continue with such efforts in Tamil Nadu as well.

“Thiru Purohit affirms that he will abide by the Constitution in letter and spirit. He will always strive to uphold the dignity of the office of Governor. He prays to the Almighty that the state of Tamil Nadu reaches the pinnacle of glory in the times to come,” Meena said in the statement.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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